Apple Rejects Epic Games Fortnite Request In South Korea

Epic Games continues to ramp up the pressure on Apple over the in-app purchase charges it collects from its App Store.

The Fornite game publisher is of course locked in a bitter lawsuit with Apple, and this week it  decided to try and take advantage of an incoming law in South Korea.

Late last month South Korea had become the first major world economy to effectively stop Apple and Google from charging commissions on in-app purchases.

Credit: Epic Games

Epic gambit

This was because South Korea’s parliament approved the amended ‘Telecommunications Business Act’, that will stop Google and Apple from forcibly charging software developers up to a 30 percent commissions on in-app purchases

The legislation is expected to go into effect next week on 15 September.

Watching this development, Epic opted for a gambit and requested that Apple restore its developer account on the iPhone maker’s iOS platform in South Korea to add its own payment option.

“Epic has asked Apple to restore our Fortnite developer account,” the game publisher tweeted. “Epic intends to re-release Fortnite on iOS in Korea offering both Epic payment and Apple payment side-by-side in compliance with the new Korean law.”

However Reuters has reported that Apple on Thursday rejected this request.

Apple reportedly said Epic Games would have to agree to comply with Apple’s App Store review guidelines and it will not consider any request for reinstatement of Epic Games’ developer program account in the absence of such an agreement.

“We would welcome Epic’s return to the App Store if they agree to play by the same rules as everyone else,” Apple said in an emailed statement.

According to Reuters, Apple also said even if the South Korean legislation were to become law, it would impose no obligation on the firm to approve any developer program account application.

Apple concessions

Apple has offered a number of concessions over the past year over in-app purchases.

In November 2020 Apple announced the new App Store commission will fall from 30 percent down to 15 percent for small developers and businesses earning up to $1 million per year.

Then in July this year Apple made a noteworthy change and agreed to allow small app developers to email their users about alternative purchase options to the App Store billing

And this month Apple added another concession in response to an investigation initiated by Japan’s Fair Trade Commission.

It said it will allow companies with “reader apps”, such as Spotify and Netflix, to direct customers to their own websites (via hyperlinks) to make payments, allowing them to more easily avoid fees levied by the App Store.

Spotify was one of the main critics of Apple’s commission charges and filed an official complaint in 2019, when it accused Apple of unfairly using the dominance of its App Store to give the Apple Music service a competitive advantage.

European regulators as a consequence began an investigation into Apple’s imposition of an in-app fee of up to 30 percent for distribution of paid digital content and other restrictions.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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